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the denizens



Remembering Chris


Beyond the Sun       





    This solid teak Gibson guitar was a gift from Kate.  The brass music stand was a flea market find.  Never knew what Chris would bring in and fix up.  The case has stickers/logos from the various clubs where he and the denizens played, as well as logos and stickers from other rock groups and radio stations.   He loved this guitar and kept it near perfect condition.




September 6, 2002

ORLANDO -- Christopher Rice, 29, passed away on Friday, September 6,2002 . He was born in Alabama. on February 9, 1973 . Chris graduated from Eau Gallie High School in 1991, and received his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Central Florida . Chris had three great passions in life: He loved his work as a Certified Behavioral Analyst with physically and mentally handicapped children and adults, but he especially enjoyed the kids. His great passion in life from age 13 was music. It began with chorus in Jr. High and progressed to high school plays and a Choral scholarship to Brevard Community College . During high school with his friends Scott and Tony, he formed the band that would become The Denizens. Most recently, Chris and his new band, 3AE signed a recording contract with RCA. Truly the hardest thing about his untimely death, is that he was so close to realizing his dream. Finally, his family: Chris was a beautiful, talented, and loving son and brother. Chris, "The Rock Star" was the pride of his nieces and nephews; and the spontaneous free spirit of every family gathering. As much as Chris was loved by all of us, his love in return was greater, stronger, and more intense. He is survived and greatly loved by his mother and stepfather, Kay and Sonny of Melbourne; father and stepmother, Olen and Marianne Rice of Valley, Alabama; his grandmother, Dolores "Dee Dee" Powell; his aunt and uncle, June and Ray Holley of Valley, Alabama; his aunt and uncle Ardis and Victor Powell, of Provincetown, Massachusetts; his brothers, Tony Rice of St. Charles, Missouri, Thane Rice of Lusby, Maryland, Olen and Julie Rice of Green Bay, Wisconsin; nieces and nephews, Heather, Justin, Jeremy, and Devin Rice, all of Lusby, Maryland, T.J. and Courtney Rice, both of St. Charles, Missouri, Ashley, Olen IV, and Alayna Rice, all of Green Bay, Wisconsin.; and his many friends. Chris, we love you now and forever. God grant you peace. Visitation will be held on Sunday from 11 to 2 p.m. at the Carey Hand Garden Funeral Home, 600 E. Wilkinson Ave. , Orlando , FL 32803 . Funeral Services will be held on Monday, September 9, 2002 , at 10 a.m. at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, please make memorial contributions to Organization For Autism Research, 2111 Wilson Blvd. Suite 600 , Arlington , VA 22201 . Carey Hand Garden Funeral Home in Orlando , is entrusted with arrangements.


My Guardian Angel

Uncle Chris,

I love you so much

and I know you are gone

but in my heart you will always be here


Your music and dedication

impressed me so much

that I can’t even explain it in words


I was stunned when you played your guitar

and dumbfounded when you sang

but when you smiled at the end of your songs

that smile always made my day


I will miss you so much,

but I feel you are still here

watching me even now


I prayed that you

could be my guardian angel

because I know that you will protect me


And as I prayed

I felt your presence, in the sense that you were protecting me already


So please keep me safe

through all of my life’s adventures


I will miss you and I love you

and I hope you had the time of your life

Love Always

Your loving niece

Ashley Rice


Melanie's Eulogy

I figured out last night that I’ve known Chris more than half my life.  He was my first love and although we have lost touch the past few years, Chris and I used to say we were soul mates.  I used to think we couldn’t be soul mates if we weren’t in a romantic relationship, but as we have been many things to each other over the years, I now know that’s not true.

 I’ve been writing in my journal since I found out that Chris died and I’d like to share a little bit of what I wrote.

Walks around Eau Gallie High after school

Walks around UCF

Walks around Wickham Park

Picnics and endless hours talking at Wickham Park

How I wish I could talk with your now

Going to Drill Meets

Spending time with Sonny and your mom

Going to the NOC club for dinner and dancing with them

Spending the night in the sailboat with them

Choir practice

Spending time together and saying we were a choir practice

Going to Disney

Watching you in plays

Watching you in band

Listening to you sing

Listening to endless hours of Billy Joel, Harry Connick Jr., and Depeche Mode

Trying to get your bird to whistle the theme from the “Pink Panther”

Countless dinners with my parents

Going to concerts

Going to dances

Going to clubs

Your dog Gus and your dog Mandy who peed when you looked at her cross-eyed

“Damn dog’s pissed on my bed again” you would say

Going to Sea World with Sean and Michelle

Going to see Billy Joel with our moms, Michelle and Danny

July 4th at Front Street with Michelle and Danny

Making a disastrous birthday cake for Danny

Meeting you in the airport when you came back from LA

Going to Mr Bojangles and listening to the guy sing and play the guitar

You came everyday when I was in the hospital

You came when my mom was there

And your came when she wasn’t and said I should be sleeping

You brought me a stuffed duck that you had sprayed with your cologne, Giorgio for men

I loved that it smelled like you, but that duck sure could fill a room

Trying to teach me how to drive a stick

Having Chinese fire drill at an intersection in Orlando because I was failing miserably

And watching the movie “Somewhere in Time” with you –you had seen if before

I hadn’t.  It’s still my favorite movie.

That was the day after we went sailing with Sonny and your mom

For those of you that missed this classic tearjerker,

Christopher Reeve falls in love with a picture of Jane Seymour taken over 70 years prior

He discovers the easy task of time travel, goes back in time, and of course they fall in love

The movie went to commercial break right when Christopher Reeve unexpectedly gets bolted back to the present and leaves Jane Seymour in the past

I asked you if it was the end of the movie, and you said it was and I cried and cried and cried

Then, the commercial break ended and the movie started again

And I figured out you had lied

Christopher Reeve dies of an apparent broken heart and meets Jane Seymour in the afterlife.

I was so relieved that this was how it turned out

I was also pretty irked at you for telling me it was over when it wasn’t

You just smiled and asked me if I didn’t appreciate their reunion even more now than I would have had you not told me is was over when it was

Well. Okay, you had me there

That was something I always loved about you,

Your ability to experience and share emotion on such a profound level

Well, we may not be Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve, but you have been

Unexpectedly bolted to the afterlife and we are left in the present to experience the

Emotion that is left in your absence

Thanks you for making me feel so much

You used to tell me that you would drive 5 hours to spend five minutes with me.  How I wish I could spend 5 minutes with you now.



Scott Mabry - Remembering Chris

First Time I met Chris  

French class in High School ----- We got kicked out for making a sketch about shopping for “Leather Underwear With Spikes”.

Knew he could be a rock singer because of Master of Puppets Metallica, before that he only liked Kansas.

He sang the hell out of Queensryque and other alt metal bands.

Opened for Southgang and Skin Tight at the Power Station.

[Our] Trip to Los Angeles

The Uhaul trip

The governor on the gas, and the gas passed….almost running out of gas on the way to New Orleans ..

The Rebel 250 motorcycle driving in 5 lanes of traffic

The print broker job ($10) and handing out flyers in East L.A.

The trip home after (catching the red eye back to Orlando )

The Road Trip to Atlanta when I was in Columbus

UCF days

Playing on the Green, with all the Threshold Kids

Playing at BT Grinders for 50 bucks

Surfing (he couldn’t surf..he just watched)

Working out (body like a cylinder)  Pants were interchangeable--He could wear them on any part of his body.

Denizen Days

First Demo

First big show at the Old Hard Rock Café, a case of rolling rocks on the Balcony of the Hard Rock, We thought we were big time

Playing WJRR shows, and the county fair

Turning off Chris’ Amp or intentionally breaking a string so I would have to borrow his guitar.  He always thought I did it intentionally…..I did

Playing the fraternities and getting through 2 songs before the plug was pulled

After Nashville

Many days in the studio

Hearing our music on the Radio for the first time---Native Noise

Later Denizens with Dave and Arron

Sapphire, and House of Blues shows

Benefit for the Band who’s equipment was stolen

Dressing up in suits at Skinnys

Chris I will miss you, we were brothers and no one can take away the music we played and the great times we had together.

And just like the last song.  I know you are in a better place, a sweeter time.




                 The Prophet  ~  by Kahlil Gibran


Then Almitra spoke, saying, we would ask now of death.

And he said: you would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl shoes night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot

unveil the mystery of light.  If you would indeed be bold the

spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge

of beyond; And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow

your heart dreams of spring.  Trust the dreams, for in them

is hidden the gate to eternity.  Your fear of death is but the

trembling of the Shepard when he stands before the King

whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.  Is the 

shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall

Wear the mask of the king.  Yet is he not more mindful

of his trembling?


For what it is to die but to stand naked in the wind and to

melt into the sun?  And what it is to cease breathing, but to

free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise

and expand and seek God unencumbered? 


Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed

sing.  And when you have reached the mountaintop, then shall

you begin to climb.  And when the earth shall claim your

limbs, then shall you truly dance. 


                                      In Loving Memory

                                 Harold Christopher Rice


Letter from 3AE read at Chris' funeral

         Chris has left a mark on all of us like no other singer or musician ever has.  He was the soul; the voice of our music.  He was the person that was most responsible for helping people understand and interpret every idea we had.  To say it most plainly we could have never done it without him.

 Sonically, there was no one else like him.  His voice was incredibly unique, but also “every man” at the same time.  When he sang a line, everyone could feel exactly what he was talking about, whether he was singing about a relationship, happiness, sadness, or a feeling of loss.  His voice spoke to everyone like the voice inside our heads speak to us.  It’s something you trust, something you turn to for whatever feeling you may have.

 But, thankfully, we still have his voice.  When we listen back to the recordings of him now, his singing has even more meaning to us.  It sounds as if he’s still right there, comforting us even about the loss of himself.  We remember him through his music.  The passion he had for it, the never-ending 100% that he gave in every word.  When Chris was onstage with you, you didn’t worry about anything.  You knew that no matter how many mistakes you made yourself, Chris’ vocal would overshadow all of it.  It was magic.

 It’s been the greatest honor and privilege for all of us to have worked with such a talented soul.  The inspiration and strength that he gave us will never die.  Thank you Chris for helping us expand our musical horizons far beyond anything we ever thought we could achieve.  Chris we will always remember you no matter where we are or what we’re doing.  You will forever be a member of our band and always our brother.  You will be missed always.  Our lives will never be the same without you.   

Our deepest sympathy and respect,




      In the fall of 2001, my youngest son Chris, a beautiful, bright,  loving, and  talented young man, started taking Paxil. A year later he was dead. At the time of his death he had been suffering severe bouts of depression for several months and was trying to gradually wean himself off of Paxil. In the month before his death he tried to “cold turkey” stop taking the drug but with disastrous consequences.  He had complete and total insomnia for days, and although unable to sleep, he suffered terrible “nightmares”which he relayed to me as the most horrific and violent thoughts he had ever experienced.  He also experienced what he described as a feeling of electrical shocks throughout his body.  We later learned that this sensation is called the “Zaps” by others who have attempted to stop taking Paxil. He was driven into a depression so deep that he was inconsolable, even by those who loved him the most, and there were many of us. He realized after doing some research into Paxil that he would not be able to stop taking it unless he did so by gradually reducing the dosage over a period of months.  It is my unwavering belief that his death, at the age of 29,  was a direct consequence of his decision to resume taking this drug. This belief is in large part based on the fact that for the 28 years of Chris’ life prior to taking Paxil he never suffered from depression, other than the occasional kind of “down” days we have all experienced from time to time, and never, not once, exhibited anything that could even remotely be described as violent or aggressive tendencies. He had to my knowledge never been in a fight or attempted to start one. Even more telling is the fact that in September of 2002, when Chris should have been nothing short of ecstatic about every aspect of  his life and about the future, he was not only severely depressed, but appeared bent on self-destruction.

            Chris loved psychology and music, and those two passions were inextricably intertwined throughout his life.  After graduating from high school and attending Brevard Community College, Chris moved to Orlando and began to pursue his “dual” dreams.  He began working with children and adults who had severe behavioral problems, and in 1998, he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from UCF. During  this time, he and some friends who had formed a rock band while still in high school, began performing as the “Denizens”  in clubs around the Orlando area. At one point, with the hopes of making it big,  the band went to Nashville where they recorded a six song CD.  Orlando rock stations began to play “the Denizens.” They were also recognized by Axis Magazine, and one of their songs was included on the first Axis compilation CD.  

        In the summer of 2001, after passing the state certification examination, Chris became a Certified Associate Behavior Analyst.  To celebrate this significant achievement, we gave him the car of his dreams, my 1975 Triumph TR6. How he did love that car. I would give everything I have, and everything I will ever have, to see, just once more, the look on his face as he drove away. This event was also significant because, as a result of passing the certification exam Chris received a raise in pay and a promotion, and it was then that he first mentioned feeling a little anxious about aspects of his new job, particularly the requirement that he make frequent oral presentations.  It was these feelings of anxiety which would later prompt him to ask a doctor to prescribe Paxil. At a family reunion in November of that year, just days after Chris had begun taking the anxiety medication, he was happy and healthy and his outlook on life could not have been better.  

        In the spring of 2002, Chris was approached by a big time Orlando music producer to audition for a new band he was putting together. Five minutes after they heard his voice, Chris became part of this fledgling band. The band and their producer spent several months in the recording studio and subsequently put out a four song demo CD. After showcasing for the major recording labels in Orlando,  Los Angeles and New York, the band, now known as “3AE,” was offered a recording contract with RCA.  In August, when the contract was signed Chris called to tell me that he was now officially, “RCA recording artist Chris Rice.”  He sounded happy, more than that he was ecstatic, he was going to be a rock star.  However, we were unaware that by this time he was suffering violent mood swings and struggling with severe bouts of depression and feelings of anger, which were made all the worse by the fact that he had begun regularly drinking to excess.  In hindsight, it appears that he was in a vicious cycle of drinking to escape the unbearable depression that was caused by the medication that was supposed to be helping him with his anxiety. There are several documented incidents in which Chris became so out of control that he attempted to start fights with friends as well as strangers. There was an occasion at a family reunion in late July of 2002, when Chris, in the throes of an apparent psychotic episode, began throwing himself into plate glass doors in what can only be described as a suicidal rage. Each time he had no memory of what he had done, however, after that last incident Chris began to suspect that Paxil was the root of his problems and began to try to get off of the drug. 

        In July, after signing the recording contract, he quit his job as a behavioral analyst in anticipation of going on the road with the band prior to the release of what would become 3AE’s first album for RCA. He would later confide in me that he had really just quit one day due to his depression and concerns about his inexplicable feelings of aggression. It was also during this time that Chris was attempting to get off of the Paxil.  In mid-August, when we spoke on the phone, Chris told me he had stopped taking it altogether, and then recounted the horrible “waking nightmares he had endured,” and his unexplainable bouts of depression. He told me that he had done some research and discovered that he would not be able to stop taking Paxil as he had attempted to do, and instead would have to gradually wean himself off of the drug.  He told me that he did not want to resume taking it, but that he had no choice at that point. I  had serious misgivings about his continuing to take Paxil, as I now realized that he had suffered horrible side effects while taking the drug as prescribed, the depression, the psychotic episodes, and the mood swings, all of which occurred months before his attempt to stop taking this drug.  I could only hope that the weaning process would not take too long.  

        On Thursday September 5th, Chris went to the studio and recorded “Beyond the Sun,” which would become his last song.  At 2:30 in the morning on Friday September 6, 2002,  Chris had an accident in which he lost control of his car and hit a utility pole. He was not wearing his seatbelt and was thrown through the windshield.  We suspected that he had been drinking even before this was confirmed by the FHP toxicology reports. Although that may very well be the “official cause” of the accident and of Chris’ death,  I will never be dissuaded from my belief that his death was the end  result of his struggle to rid his body of Paxil and his mind of a debilitating depression there can be no doubt was caused by that drug.   I will not rest until the world learns the truth about the horrors of this drug which is not only advertised on television and in major publications, but apparently handed out like candy to anyone who asks for it. In Chris’ memory I ask your help in this pursuit. If anyone you care about is taking Paxil, or even considering taking it, tell them to check out the following Paxil related websites:    Paxil Update         

SmithKline Beecham and Paxil Petition =   

GlaxoSmithKline Paxil Petition = 





In Memoriam guest book.